I’d always been shy. When I was little, my sister often answered for me when someone asked my name. Despite the shyness, I managed to have friends, both boys and girls. But when I became a teenager, I withdrew—especially when it came to boys.
I was introduced to drinking alcohol and smoking pot, which seemed to loosen me up so that I became less self-conscious and had more fun. The trouble was that as time went on, I became more and more dependent on these substances to enjoy myself.
It got to the point where I was getting high even to enjoy activities that would have been fun without the drugs. Worse, after graduating from college, although I had a great job as a computer programmer and worked from home, I was getting high so often that I couldn’t discipline myself to do much work, and I finally quit my job.
I was interested in finding deeper and more lasting peace and happiness.
After another short-lived job and some travels, I decided to live off my savings and experiment with different spiritual and healing systems. I had always struggled with the concept of God, but I was interested in finding deeper and more lasting peace and happiness. I tried everything from meditation and astrology to Native American practices, Buddhism, and yoga. My use of drugs continued, with the hope that they would enhance my spirituality. Finally I was down to two hundred dollars, a bag of marijuana, a backpack, and a plane ticket to Honolulu, where I hoped to find a community of like-minded people with whom I could live in peace and harmony.
Instead, I became further detached from reality. When this finally dawned on me after a few years in Hawaii, I thought of my parents, who had a good, stable life, and of how my mom loved the Bible. I figured there had to be something to that, so I hitchhiked to town and bought a Bible of my own.
For a while, I smoked pot constantly, meditated, and read my Bible. I also borrowed two books from the religion section of the library. One was Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I connected immediately to the author’s logical approach to understanding God and the Bible. I felt I had found a book of truth, and the contrast between how I was learning to think and my old way of thinking was clear. Previously, I’d been depending on positive thinking, which had led me into some precarious situations and poverty. But now I was understanding God and His creation as completely spiritual and good. And I could see how this new way of thinking was actually dependable, because it was based on solid, divine Truth.
What I was reading filled me with so much hope that I no longer had a desire to get high.
Initially, I was constantly getting high while reading Science and Health, but halfway through the book I stopped smoking pot. It was effortless. What I was reading filled me with so much hope and happiness that I no longer had a desire to get high. It was just as Jesus promised: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). My freedom came naturally as it dawned on me that God is the only real power, so nothing else, including pot, could have any power.
Later, on a friend’s birthday, I did give in to the pressure to have some cocaine and pot. But surprisingly, I didn’t get high. The drugs had no power over me because of all that I’d learned about God. That was the end of years of drug use.
Reading the Bible and Science and Health completely transformed my life. I went on to have physical healings that assured me that what I’d been reading really was true and that I could rely on God for healing, wherever it was needed. Even more significant has been the new, spiritual view of my identity that I’ve gained from studying Christian Science. I’ve learned that I’m not flawed, incomplete, or a certain personality type. I am God’s image and likeness—the image and likeness of good—and so is everyone else. With that understanding, the extreme self-consciousness and shyness have fallen away, and I’ve found so much freedom and the ability to be myself without limitations or fear.
For so long I’d been putting my faith in some substance to make me feel OK. But now I’ve learned that the only faith I need is in God. And with that faith has come the understanding and confidence that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
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